Title:
MODULAR WELL SERVICING UNIT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of modifying a modular well servicing combination unit comprising the steps of keeping a well servicing module in inventory and removably mounting said well servicing module onto said modular well servicing combination unit.



Inventors:
Crawford, James B. (League City, TX, US)
Crawford, Phillip (League City, TX, US)
Anderson, Lila R. (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/451161
Publication Date:
04/15/2010
Filing Date:
04/28/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
166/75.11, 166/381
International Classes:
E21B19/00; E21B23/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SAYRE, JAMES G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Office of Art Dula (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of maintaining a modular well servicing unit comprising the steps of keeping a functional well servicing module in inventory, and replacing a broken well servicing module by dismounting said broken well servicing module and removably mounting said functional well servicing module onto said modular well servicing unit.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein said well servicing unit comprises a control module, comprising the additional step of having said control module recognize and assume control of said functional well servicing module.

3. The method of claim 1 comprising the additional step of monitoring said well servicing modules in the field.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein said monitoring comprises on-site monitoring.

5. The method of claim 3 wherein said said well servicing unit comprises an operator control module that can be operated on-site.

6. The method of claim 3 wherein said monitoring comprises remote monitoring.

7. The method of claim 3 wherein said said well servicing unit comprises an operator control module that can be operated remotely.

8. The method of claim 3 wherein said monitoring is done by satellite communication.

9. The method of claim 3 wherein said monitoring is done by cellular communication.

10. The method of claim 5 further comprising means for remote module control.

11. A method of modifying a modular well servicing unit comprising the steps of keeping a well servicing module in inventory and removably mounting said well servicing module onto said modular well servicing unit.

12. The method of claim 11 comprising the additional step of dismounting an unwanted module from said well servicing unit.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein said well servicing unit comprises a control module, comprising the additional step of having said control module recognize and assume control of said functional well servicing module.

14. A method of converting a modular well servicing unit configured for a first job, wherein said well servicing unit comprises a removably mounted well servicing module, to a modular well servicing unit configured for a second job, comprising the step of dismounting said well servicing module from said well servicing unit configured for a first job.

15. A method of converting a modular well servicing unit configured for a first job to a modular well servicing unit configured for a second job, comprising the step of removably mounting a well servicing module to said well servicing unit configured for a first job.

16. The method of claim 14 wherein said modular well servicing unit configured for a first job comprises a land unit and said modular well servicing unit configured for a second job comprises a marine unit, said method comprising converting a modular well servicing unit configured for land to a modular well servicing unit configured for water, wherein said modular well servicing unit configured for land comprises a land transportation module and a well servicing module; and said modular well servicing unit configured for water comprises a marine transportation module; said method comprising the steps of dismounting said well servicing module from said land transportation module and removably mounting said well servicing module onto said marine transportation module.

17. The method of claim 14 wherein said modular well servicing unit configured for a first job comprises a marine unit and said modular well servicing unit configured for a second job comprises a land unit, said method comprising converting a modular well servicing unit configured for water to a modular well servicing unit configured for land, wherein said modular well servicing unit configured for water comprises a marine transportation module and a well servicing module; and said modular well servicing unit configured for land comprises a land transportation module; said method comprising the steps of dismounting said well servicing module from said marine transportation module and removably mounting said well servicing module onto said land transportation module.

18. A method of manufacturing a modular well servicing unit comprising the steps of manufacturing modular well servicing modules and removably mounting said well servicing modules to form a modular well servicing unit.

19. The method of claim 18, comprising the additional step of keeping long lead time well servicing modules in inventory.

20. A modular well servicing unit comprising: standardized interfaces for module attachment, plumbing, and control; a power interface that is removably connectable to a power source to drive a plurality of pumps and motors that control a plurality of well servicing modules that are removably mounted on said unit; a control module that recognizes and assumes control of said well servicing modules; said well servicing modules being interconnectable by plumbing, control, and communication means through said standardized interfaces.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a PCT application claiming priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/926,517 entitled MODULAR WELL SERVICING UNIT filed 29 Apr. 2007 which is herein incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

The invention relates generally to to the treatment of oil and gas wells using fluids to increase the production capability of the wells and more particularly to dismounting, mounting, monitoring, and controlling well servicing modules.

Well serving units are conventionally configured at the point of manufacturing, and the well servicing functions that any particular unit performs are fixed at the point of manufacturing.

Conventional units usually only have a single function. A conventional coil tubing unit provides coil tubing. A conventional nitrogen unit provides nitrogen. Each unit has its own conveyance, power source, and control system. For instance a conventional coil tubing unit has its own truck, power supply to the unit (not the truck engine) and control console.

Conventional well servicing units may take 6 to 18 months to manufacture.

Combination units such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,702,011 and U.S. Pat. No. 7,051,818 have a non-modular, monolithic design.

The approaches described in this section are approaches that could be pursued, but not necessarily approaches that have been previously conceived or pursued. Therefore, unless otherwise indicated, it should not be assumed that any of the approaches described in this section qualify as prior art merely by virtue of their inclusion in this section.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

The invention provides means for dismounting and mounting well servicing modules for assembly, maintenance, and modification of well servicing combination units as well as standardization, control, and monitoring of said modules.

DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood when the following detailed description is read with reference to the accompanying drawings in which like characters represent like parts throughout the drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a diagram showing assembly of a first well servicing unit by removably mounting well servicing modules from inventory in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a diagram showing remaining inventory of well servicing modules after assembly of a first well servicing unit by removably mounting well servicing modules from inventory in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a diagram showing assembly of a second well servicing unit by removably mounting well servicing modules from inventory in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a diagram showing remaining inventory of well servicing modules after assembly of a second well servicing unit by removably mounting well servicing modules from inventory in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a diagram showing replacement of a removably mounted module from said first well servicing unit by dismounting said module and removably mounting another well servicing module from inventory in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a diagram showing transfer of a dismounted module a repair facility in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a diagram showing transfer of a dismounted module from a repair facility to inventory in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a diagram showing module or component managers in communication with a unit manager accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the example shown in FIG. 1, after a customer who has a problem with his well describes the problem to a sales engineer, the sales engineer determines which modules and functions are needed to perform the service that the customer requires and configures a unit to the job specification. The crew in the depot 100 assembles the unit needed from the modules 80, 50, 60, 10 in the module inventory. Once the Unit is configured and tested, it leaves the depot 100 to go to the job site. In this example, module 10 is a truck power pack module, module 60 is a Crane Trailer Module, module 50 is an operator control module or command module, and module 80 is a coil tubing module.

FIG. 2 shows the module inventory remaining at the depot 100 after the unit assembled for the first customer has left for the job site. These inventory modules remain available for deployment on a new job.

In the example shown in FIG. 3, a second customer describes requirements to a sales engineer who determines which modules and functions are needed to perform the service that the second customer requires and configures a unit to the job specification. The crew in the depot 100 assembles a second unit from the modules in inventory. Once the unit is configured and tested, it leaves the depot 100 to go to the job site. In this example, module 11 is a truck power pack module, module 51 is an operator control module or command module, and module 30 is a wireline module.

FIG. 4 shows the module inventory remaining at the depot 100 after the two units assembled for the first and second customers have left for the job site. These inventory modules remain available for deployment on a new job.

FIG. 5 shows an example of the work flow for a module swap out required for an unscheduled repair. In this example, the unit configured for the first customer, as shown in FIG. 1, has damage on coil tubing module 80. The unit has returned to the depot 100, where there is a second coil tubing module 81 waiting in the module inventory. The working module 81 removably mounted on the unit after the broken module 80 has been dismounted. By swapping out modules in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, it's possible to keep the unit in service while the module 80 is being repaired.

FIG. 6 shows the unit leaving the shop to return to the job site, while module 80 is moved to the repair facility 101 where a maintenance crew will repair, test, and re-certify it for return to module inventory 100.

FIG. 7 depicts module 80 returned to module inventory at the depot 100, where it is ready to be removably mounted on a unit.

Turning now to FIG. 8, module or component managers 90, 91, 92, 93 are in communication with unit manager 94 accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Unit manager 94 is in communication with onboard computer and user interface 95 local to unit (in Command Module 50).

Operator Control Module 50 comprises unit manager 94 and onboard computer and user interface 95

Any anomalous events are communicated to centrally located database 97.

Well servicing modules 10, 20, 30, 40 can be remotely monitored at user interface (terminal) 98.

The satellite 102, or other communications path (such as long range cellular phone) connect the performance and support center 97 with the well servicing modular unit.

When something goes wrong with a module, it is reported to central immediately, and arrangements to repair/replace module are made. Entire unit can return to depot or intermediate location or just module(s) can be transported to achieve repair/replacement while unit remains working on site.

Unit can notify the depot to be ready to change a module out.

A system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention can achieve:

    • Standard Monitoring and Control Interfaces for All Site Components,
    • Wireless Communications,
    • RFID Tracking of Assets,
    • GPS Tracking of Assets,
    • Instant Alerts,
    • Instant Link to Other Components, and
    • Video and Audio to Other Personnel.

A system or apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention can provide:

    • Instant Involvement of all Required Personnel,
    • Reduced Outages,
    • Shorter Outages, and
    • Audit Trail of all Events.

The systems, methods, and apparatus depicted in the figures are equally applicable for an offshore unit and amphibious units.

Analogous to the way the term “plug and play” indicates easy addition of a new computer device, normally a peripheral, without requiring reconfiguration or manual installation of device drivers, “plug and work” is a term meaning easy addition of mechanically and electrically compatible modules to a unit that provides shared power and central module management. Because units according to an embodiment of the present invention are modular, they can be put together at the depot to have all the functions needed to perform a specific job. Modules that represent functions not needed on the specific job are left at the depot. Because the modules are built to share power and control, each module does not need to contain its own power source. This saves weight and footprint at the job site. Interchangeable modules enable “fit-for-purpose” well servicing units and multiple deployment options for land, offshore, and in-between (marshes etc.). These modular units deliver multiple well servicing functions such as coil tubing plus a nitrogen source, but conventional units only have a single function (such as a Coil Unit or a Nitrogen Unit only). Modularity takes full advantage of compact, lightweight modules for unmatched deployment flexibility of well servicing systems.

A modular design in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention enables flexibility of configuration (which modules are assembled together) and efficiency in maintenance. With the establishment of standards and procedures, a fleet of modules and units can be deployed more quickly than monolithic units.

A system integrator approach in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention is enabled by modular designs of the well servicing function modules. Every piece of well servicing equipment becomes a module to be integrated or assembled into a working unit. This allows design flexibility without sacrificing production capacity. It has direct impact on the depot maintenance programs that keep units working, and reduces the number of different spare parts in inventory through module standardization, which also saves cost.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, central power and control reduces unit footprint and weight, while modularity allows customization to meet more stringent weight and size requirements. The advantage of small foot print allows units to fit on small barges and boats that conventional units cannot squeeze onto.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, central power and control and modularity allow units that require less rig up and rig down time, and fewer number of crew.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, modularity enables the customization and building of multifunctional well servicing units to meet specific function requirements in the field through customized module integration at the depot for each job.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, modularity and standardization affords maximum flexibility in the selection and relationship with multiple vendors, component suppliers, module fabricators (commercial off the shelf, or custom designs), system integrators and assemblers.

Conventional well servicing units may take 6to 18 months to manufacture. During this time capital is tied up. In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, once a unit is ordered, modules can be produced on parallel manufacturing lines. Once all modules are on the assembly yard or system integrator yard, a supplier can assemble and test a unit comprising specified modules in an about 30 days. Inventory costs should run for about 45 days rather than for months.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, faster build times achieved through parallel manufacturing lines can be further improved when long-lead-time modules are inventoried and integrated with other short delivery time modules.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, “Plug and Work” standardization means modules are compatible because compatible hardware interfaces are defined so that they modules fit together with no additional design work.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit can comprise only the modules whose functions are needed for a particular job and there is no dead weight.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit allows higher revenue per unit and higher profit per unit because of increased “operational availability”. Operational availability is the ratio of days per month a unit is on the yard available for work, divided by the number of days in the month. Additional “uptime” with little or no additional fixed cost is possible because modules can be swapped and replaced anywhere, provided there are not environmental constraints to reaching the location of the unit, such as mud etc. Then the broken module can be fixed and put back in the operations inventory (depot inventory) to be used as needed as shown in FIGS. 1-7. This keeps a unit in service making money more days per month, but with no additional fixed costs such as crew. There is no additional capital cost, other than module inventory. In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit can be kept working by quickly changing out modules. If a conventional unit has a problem such as a component breaking down it must return to the depot or shop.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, modules can be quickly replaced with a module in inventory at the depot, or a module in inventory can be transported to the unit for replacement in the field.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, depot modularity means units comprising discrete modules can be configured with the functions needed to meet a particular job specification. A unit's modules can be switched out with a forklift and an overhead gantry at the depot. For example, it's possible to switch out a coil tubing module from a unit for another coil tubing module that has just been refurbished.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, field modularity means the ability to swap modules anywhere outside of the depot, certainly wherever a truck and crane trailer can be driven. The location could be the jobsite or other locations as well. This enables extensive maintenance and repair to be done in the field.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, module management means keeping track of the module inventory in the depot, and the status and location of modules in the field, allowing efficient scheduling for maintenance or changing job requirements by swapping a module needing repair or maintenance or new capability out of a unit and replacing it with a module from the depot inventory.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit can be “Fit-For-Purpose”, meaning reconfiguring a unit with different module types that have different functions whenever new capability is desired for a job. This means the ability to switch different types of modules in and out of a unit. For example, a “Combination Coil Tubing and Nitrogen Unit” might need to be morphed into a “Nitrogen and Pressure pumping unit” by removing the Coil Tubing Module and replacing it with a Pressure Pumping Module.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit's “Module Maintenance and Repair” means swapping out one module for a module of the same type: such as nitrogen module for another nitrogen module.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a module-based well intervention services system using shared power, control, and job performance information is shared in near real time with a backend knowledgebase that can be monitored in real-time. The job knowledgebase can provide information for applications such accounting, safety, maintenance, etc.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit may comprise several modules, using shared systems, hydraulics, power, monitoring, and control.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit may comprise any of the following types of modules and components:

Coiled Tubing (reel, injector head, blow out preventor stack),

Nitrogen (cryogenic or nitrogen generated onsite from the atmosphere),

Pump (fluid, pressure),

Wireline, and

Down Hole Tools

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, possible modules and components are expandable to include other types of modules and components.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit and each module should be standardized, designed, instrumented, and interfaced with the central performance architecture and knowledge base for optimized job performance and maintenance.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit can hook up with a power take off to a large engine such as an onsite engine, a large boat diesel, a turbine, or other external power, to allow integration of more modules.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit can have the ability for the command module to manage one or more power sources so that power can be provided based on the combined needs of the modules.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit modularity provides flexibility to meet local or niche market needs and also advantages in supportability and post-commissioning logistics.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a command module manages modules that provide functions to support the well intervention job. Modules should be built in compliance with the plug and work specification.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit should preferably have a standardized closed circuit hydraulic shared power system rather than a open circuit system, because a closed circuit system should have more useable horsepower).

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, one or more of the following in any combination where the interfaces are so defined so that the modules will “plug and work” together:

    • Data Acquisition and Monitoring System as defined by the command module to support the modules, functions, and points needed.
    • Command Module—Operator control Module with control panel (hydraulic controls becoming increasingly mostly electronic or electromechanical; adding computer systems, displays, controls, applications, touch screens, communications, audio, video, etc.),
    • Coiled Tubing Deployment module that can include an Injector head, Blow out preventor, well control stack, Reel, and tubing,
    • Nitrogen Module: (cryogenic nitrogen or nitrogen generated onsite from the atmosphere),
    • Blow Out Preventor/well control stack,
    • Injector head,
    • High Pressure Pumping,
    • Mixing Tanks,
    • Fuel Tank,
    • Crane,
    • Power source (tractor with wet-kit or power pack),
    • Trailer,
    • Mobile Marine Power Pack,
    • Fluid pump module,
    • Offshore transport skids,
    • Hose reel skid,
    • Hydraulic work over module
    • Crane trailer, and
    • Wireline Module (can include downhole tools).

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, when a new module is plugged in the command module recognizes it immediately. The command module sees the new module the way a computer sees a new plug and play peripheral. Operator control module and command module queries the new plugged in module and asks it who it is. The module responds with a serial number or other identification and, command module manager looks that serial number up in a look-up table from a database. The command module will have a communications manager that will be protocol transparent so the command module can always sync up to the central performance and support center. The command module can inform the Depot automatically when a module has broken and ask for a new module to be brought out.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, global positioning system chips can be placed on modules and used to track the modules.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, monitor capabilities of a command module can reach any point on any module so that if desired, module sensors could be used to create measurements, monitor, log, and send data to and from the central knowledge base. A remote user could be able to see virtually anything because of the greatly expanded ability to monitor any point on a unit that can be integrated with sensors, alarms, video, and so on.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, power should preferably be hydraulically transferred, to save space and weight. Available horsepower from a single engine is converted to hydraulic pressure and is allocated as needed by a command module.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, all well intervention servicing operations—such as, coiled tubing, nitrogen, and fluid pumping—are preferably monitored and controlled by one trained specialist at a console in the operator's cabin. Centralized, single-point control eliminates communications and coordination problems—such as yelling above equipment noise, having to use hand signals or a headset—and enables almost instant response to changing well conditions.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, modularity provides optimum unit configuration flexibility to meet local requirements and enables a supplier to easily configure and re-configure for local or niche markets. Some configurations will be used more frequently than others, depending on local market demand. Units can be configured for market niche needs, which may be geographically determined. A supplier only needs an estimate of how many modules will be needed, not the exact configurations. This shortens manufacturing time because with standard interfaces, most module types can be interchanged for one another, within the limits of the differences in the required foot print.

Offshore units can be just as unforgiving to a footprint constraint and even more inflexible on a weight constraint. Onshore units are constrained by “over the road” legal restrictions of municipalities that will be traversed from depot to job site.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, only required modules need be sent to the job, for reduced cost of module inventory and spare parts.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a unit can reach previously unreachable wells such as those in silted up access channels inaccessible to conventional units—too shallow water for boats or barges, but too wet for trucks, by using amphibious vehicles.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, standardization of all module external interfaces allows exchange of one module for another of the same type and will drop right into the unit configuration.

To change a module of one type in a unit for a module of another type changes the unit configuration because different types of modules comprise the unit. A key factor is the footprints of the different modules.

Compared to conventional units, a unit in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention typically has more payload, less equipment, smaller footprint, lighter weight, more power at the required location, less transportation cost, less rig up and rig down time, more efficiency (less crew required), and more effectiveness due to better monitoring and control.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, it is possible to rebuild each system of each module without rebuilding all modules at the same time.

Maintenance rebuilds of modules can be done one-by-one as part of scheduled maintenance. Meanwhile, the unit can remain in continuous service. Less costly maintenance can minimize mean time between failures and the duration of each outage.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, compact, lightweight modules are easily handled by cranes.

Units in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention allow fast rig-up and rig-down at jobsite and improved jobsite safety, minimum transportation requirements, simplified maintenance and repair, faster build times and maximized operational availability. Because a unit in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention is lighter, smaller, and cheaper than conventional units, it can service wells that would not be practical or economical for conventional units such as offshore wells with small platforms with limited deck space or structural strength, marshland wells reachable only by amphibious vehicles, wells in remote areas, beyond the reach of economical cyrogenic liquid nitrogen supplies

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention a command module (parameter driven, configurable, flexible)—could be changed based on the modules. Modules could be changed based on a plug and work specification and the functions would be therefore changed to provide the new or different job management using the performance architecture, shared power and control.

A system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention allows changing the well servicing functions of a unit, and eliminating redundant power packs (marine diesels or truck diesels or external power or turbine power) easier transportation, and smaller crew size.

A system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention allows interactive real-time communications or near real-time communications, monitoring, control, and management of the job running in real time with the crew on location with support and management at central.

A system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention will preferably have both the command module operator control module and command central virtually share the the same performance architecture and data in as near real time as possible in order to keep the central job knowledgebase current where automated publish/subscribe information is shared in with applications and users.

While only certain features of the invention have been illustrated and described herein, many modifications and changes will occur to those skilled in the art. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit of the invention.